The matryoshka is a set of four to eight hollow wooden dolls of graduated size nesting inside each other. It is the most familiar item of Russian folk art.
The rounded female figure was a familiar fertility symbol in pagan Russia. The most ubiquitous matryoshka is the pink-cheeked peasant woman in native sarafan, her head covered with the traditional scarf. However, there are a lot of variations. Nests of dolls with the faces of famous writers, members of artistic circles, military heroes, politicians or members of a family were created.
The first matryoshka – plump cheerful girl in scarf and Russian national dress – was born not in ancient times, as many believe.